With a rising demand for natural medicines, cannabis compounds, like CBD and THC, are becoming increasingly popular due to their wide range of health benefits. While the close relationship between the two compounds may lead some to assume that both have the same impact on the body, a comparison between the molecular structure of CBD vs THC reveals the exact opposite.
THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN CBD AND THC
If you didn’t already know — CBD and THC have the exact same chemical makeup: 21 carbon atoms, 30 hydrogen atoms, and 2 oxygen atoms. The two are nearly identical twins. What differentiates the two compounds, however, is the arrangement of a single atom, which you can observe in the illustration below.
CANNABINOIDS AND THE ENDOCANNABINOID SYSTEM
A cannabinoid is a compound that interacts directly with our body’s Endocannabinoid System (ECS), which in short, is a network of receptors that interact with cannabinoids to maintain vital functions throughout our body.
CB1 receptors are found abundantly in regions of the brain responsible for mental and physiological processes such as memory, high cognition, emotion, and motor coordination, while CB2 receptors are found throughout the central nervous and immune systems. The interaction between the CB1 and CB2 receptors with cannabinoids like CBD and THC is the catalyst for health benefits such as pain relief, anxiety relief, appetite stimulation, mood management and more.
Now this is where the different positions of that tiny atom come into play.
Because THC and CBD have different molecular structures, they do not interact with the CB1 and CB2 receptors in the same manner. This greatly differentiates the effects each has on the body, which is likely the biggest concern when comparing CBD to THC.
CBD VS THC: HOW EACH AFFECTS THE BODY
While CBD and THC both bind to the CB2 receptor, they interact with the CB1 receptors in different ways.
Because of its molecular structure, THC is able to bind directly with CB1 receptors. When this bond is formed, the reaction creates signals that are sent to the brain, which results in the psychoactive effects of “getting high.”
In stark contrast, research shows that CBD does not bond directly with the CB1 receptor, and its presence can even negate the bond between THC and the CB1 receptors, effectively neutralizing the psychoactive effects induced by THC.
CBD VS THC: CONCLUSION
To some, the psychoactive effects of THC could be a benefit instead of a negative side effect. It’s all based on the needs of the individual.
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This article was written by Aaron Cadena from www.cbdorigin.com